It Might Soon Be Legal to Fire Pregnant, Single Moms -- Thanks, Republicans

pregnant womanBecause we can't have progress without some lawmakers yanking us a few steps back, Republicans are backing a bill that could make it legal to fire pregnant single women. This would be the First Amendment Defense Act, which sounds indisputably patriotic until you read what it's really about.

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The bill is intended to protect people's right to act on their religion-based belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, only. For example, you could fire a gay employee for getting married without losing your non-profit tax-exempt status or, if you're a for-profit company, losing any federal contracts. Here's the key text from the First Amendment Defense Act:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

That's regressive and hateful enough on its own. It makes me want to found a church that preaches gay marriage exclusively just to counter this mean-spirited turd of a piece of legislation. Don't test me, Republicans -- I will do it.

But beyond that, the language is vague enough to cover a broad range of discriminatory acts. Ian Thompson of the American Civil Liberties Union tells Huffington Post that the bill "clearly encompasses discrimination against single mothers" and would make it harder to protect women from sex-based discrimination.

More from The Stir: Getting Pregnant Before Marriage Shouldn't Be a Big Deal

We already have cases in which religious schools have fired single women for becoming pregnant -- or even merely having sex out of wedlock. As far as Senator Mike Lee (Republican from Utah, naturally) is concerned, that's just dandy. "There are colleges and universities that have a religious belief that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage" he told NPR, and they "ought to be protected in their religious freedom." He's introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

So imagine you're engaged, and the two of you plan on having children together. But you kind of get a little ahead of yourselves -- it happens -- and you're pregnant before your wedding. Would it be fair for someone to fire you in that case?

And then, when this pregnant woman is fired, how is she supposed to support her baby? This is the party that doesn't want women to get abortions. So how's about making it less difficult to keep and provide for that baby, then, knuckleheads?

What if you're a single English professor, which is an insanely competitive field, and the only tenure-track job offer you get is at a church-funded university. Would that mean choosing between practicing the profession you spent eight years and $200,000 preparing for or having a healthy, normal adult sex life?

Why do we need to support the rights of people who want to get all up in your personal business? 

We don't. Hopefully this bill will never see the light of day. House Speaker John Boehner hasn't said whether he'll bring it to the floor.

But just in case! I think it's important that we expose this bill for what it is: bad for moms, bad for women, bad for families, bad for America. Don't let the patriotic "defense of your rights" BS wording fool you. 

 

Image via Jarek Joepera/shutterstock

 

 

 

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